Thursday, December 31, 2009


I guess I would be amiss if I failed to observe a certain cultural tradition. Actually, I've missed a few, so Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and (early on this one) Happy New Year.

Hopefully, you've enjoyed some good holiday programming (the Twilight Zone marathon on SciFi [I refuse to use the new spelling] or the Hitchcock marathon on TCM or the Masterpiece Mystery marathon on WTTW) or are preparing for a joyful night out.

Random fact: There's a full moon tonight. Supposedly, we won't have another on New Year's Eve for at least another 18 years.

Random thought: I finally watched the '05 Bleak House production. It was fantastic.

That's all I got. Make sure there are some black-eyed peas in the house.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Five Greatest Cartoons Ever

1. Daria -- God! I loved this show. It was funny, poked very appropriate fun at the ridiculousness of high schoolers, and kinda perfectly captured that early-90s, "alternative" period that was a big chunk of my adolescence.

Favorite characters: Daria (of course), Trent, Mr. Morgendorffer

2. Home Movies -- One of the most consistently hilarious shows to have ever seen the light of day. Brendon Small and company remain some of the most endearing, ridiculous and memorable characters of all time. To this day, when I hear a character voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, I yell, "Hey, that's Coach McGuirk!" The music was pretty awesome. Also, Shannon is the greatest bully ever.

Favorite characters: Coach McGuirk, Brendon, Shannon, the gentle talk therapist, Walter & Perry. (I pretty much love every character here.)
3. The Venture Bros. -- I'm lamenting the lack of Brock Samson and mourning the loss of 24 on the latest season, but I still carry quite a torch for Rusty Venture and company. Love the whole parody of the superheroes milieu. Just plain funny.

Favorite characters: Brock Samson, Dr. Orpheus, the Monarch

4. Garfield and Friends -- Best theme song ever! (The first one.) Damn good Saturday morning cartooning here. Looking back, I'm surprised at the level of humor. This was a show for kids, but I still crack up thinking about the general wackyness.

Favorite characters: Garfield, Pooky, Binky the Clown

5. Laff-A-Lympics -- Everyone watched Hanna Barbera cartoons. Everyone. And when HB decided to put all their stars together, it got that much more exciting.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Atrack's Movies of the Year (So Far)

Don't go thinking this is some scholarly statement on the cinema. I like popcorn movies for the most part, things that are quickly-paced or fun to watch or just not depressing. I don't see sad movies or Oscar fodder. The last time I accidentally saw one of those meditations on the human experience, I was depressed for a week and had horrible nightmares. No, no way to those. Plus, I don't think it's fair that best of lists are usually dominated by the serious films. Poo poo to that.

In no particular order

1.Drag Me To Hell - Sam Raimi took a break from the super blockbuster and returned to his splatter, horror-comedy roots. Totally worked for me.

2. Coraline - The type of children's story I love--dark, intelligent, and rich. Reminds me of my Roald Dahl-reading days as a youth. The 3-D experience made this one even better. Gorgeous movie. Please see it.

3. The Hangover - Not perfect, but pretty consistently funny if you like dumb-ass humor and slightly offensive shtick. That Galifianakis is a hilarious dude.

4. Taken - Just straight ass kicking. Liam Neeson karate chopped the shit out of people's throats and made good on all sorts of threats. That little daughter could've been a little more grateful.

5. Zombieland - I like zombies and Woody Harrelson. *shrug*

Honorable Mention: I really liked GI Joe, Star Trek, and District 9 too.

Also, I've kinda dropped the ball. I haven't seen Ninja Assassin, 9, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Where the Wild Things Are, or Moon yet. I'm pretty sure my list will completely change once I catch up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Decoupage, My Dear: Ikea's Malm Gets an Update

I'm still in the process of decorating my room.

Bought a Malm cuz it had the most decoupage potential.

so this (Ikea's Malm)

plus this (Mod Podge in matte)

plus this (Snow & Graham's wrapping paper)

equals this (my very own decoupaged dresser). Ignore the wires!

There are clearly some issues with the pattern and a few bubbles here and there, but in all I love it. Just one more step toward making my room the overstuffed, way-too-colorful, cozy place I want it to be.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Zenni Optical, Three out of Three

First I got these.

Then these.

Now, I have these (in purple). I love them.

On the Site

In Real Life

I'm really loving this cheap frames from China racket. I can get a frame in every color and style and not feel too bad about it.

Zenni's been getting a bad rep lately for slower shipping. I think that period might be over, as I got these in two weeks. Sounds like a long time, but remember they had to grind my lenses, assemble my glasses, and ship from China. Not bad at all.

Now that I'm all brave and shit, I'm scoping out this new place, Eyewear Magic. Peep.

I've always wanted a red frame.

I'm a sucker for rhinestoned frames.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Every Week It's Mystery Meat

I got a Wii and a Wii Fit system for my birthday, and I'm trying.

I don't know, that long period of relaxation I experienced last year, the one with the Hot Doug's orgies and television marathons, padded my areas. And now when I dress for work I look obscene, like I purposefully bought my pants two sizes too small. (I just bit into a Krispee Kreme. It's really good. Focus!)

So I'm trying to lose weight a different way. The gym isn't for me. Too much work--getting there, changing clothes, using machines--as I said, too much work. Instead, I'm going it the Wii route, and I'm fixing my lunch for work, and I'm limiting my midnight snacking.

We'll see.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thoughts From a Maxwell Concert

1. Men should NOT encourage their girlfriends to see this man in concert. He's like a shimmying, hormone-inducing cult leader, even when hoarse.

2. The non-work black man uniform: V-neck (in a daring but safe color), button up, trendy jeans, brown square-toed shoes, and Donny Hathaway hat. If said black man is under thirty it's probably just trendy jeans and t-shirt with all kinds of color.

3. There are some seriously unfortunate outfits out there. Ladies, I'm looking at you.

4. Despite my non allegiance to religion, I'm pretty puritanical.

5. GET A ROOM!!!!! The couple next to me kept tonguing each other down and making noises and standing up just so the dude could violently grope the girl's behind. Jesus Christ! I'm trying to watch a concert here!

6. Once upon a time, I really, really loved hip hop. (Thanks, Common, for the reminder, and I understand that you're too mature to do your old stuff.)

7. The amount of chatter between a couple is inversely proportional to how long they've been together.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Remember That Sci-Fi Reading Challenge?

I couldn't find my edition, so here's
my second-favorite cover.

You know, this one. Needless to say, I haven't been "on it"; however, I have been reading. I finished The Stars, Like Dust, a book in Asimov's Galactic series. I finished The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, a later novel by Heinlein that led nowhere really. Most recently, I finished The Einstein Intersection after putting it off for months (sorry, Natalie).

Samuel Delany, what the fuck?!?!!! I must say, being a fan of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, I'm pretty used to weirdness, but this shit took the cake, digested it, and shat it out again. Honestly, I don't even know what it meant. I get that there was a retelling of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth, some allusion, and a pretty straight forward epic hero's journey tale. That's it. I can't tell you the point or the lesson. I'm mad lost. More power to those who get Delany. I'm not one of them. (You know, maybe Delany isn't meant to be read this way. I'll consider that if I ever read him again.)

Next, I wanna introduce myself to more contemporary authors, Neal Stephenson and his latest Anathem to be exact, but that book is 960 pages!!! Dude, I haven't done a book that long since The Fountainhead. Not sure I can do it.

Anyway, if you read and are remotely interested in what I'm reading, catch me on

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What MJ's Death Teaches Us/ R.I.P. Mike

Look, I don't pretend to really know Micheal Jackson, but being a 30-year-old whose earliest musical memories were saturated with his glittery gloves and moonwalk and mega hits, it does feel some kind of way to have an icon this big gone.

I don't know what plagued Mike. I don't know why he chose to live his life as he did. As a result, I can't really speak with any type of authority on his motivations. I do feel safe, however, in saying that he seemed to be plagued by what our Judeo-Christian society usually identifies as "demons." Hell, his life certainly looked painful and lonely from the outside. All I can do is say "skip it" (edited for the children) and prance through this trying life with a beatific smile on my face just because. If I look like Charlie during the denouement of Flowers for Algernon, so be it. I'm not letting this world drive me to an early grave.

So what am I saying? I know my message-y post screams incoherent through the six pack of eisbocks I'm drinking. Well, I suppose I'm saying a little selfishness isn't so bad all the time. And I suppose that if you're a cross-dressing fella with a penchant for shiny black Louboutins, you shouldn't be ashamed of that. I'm a heathen. I don't believe in reboots, reincarnation or heavenly rewards. Enjoy what you can now cuz living for other folks won't make you any happier; it'll just give you a heart attack and allow people you probably don't like to spout some comforting lies at your funeral.

Now, to my musical appreciation. Some of Mike's finest moments. (And yes, I did buy the Invincible album; i got the orange cover, so there! I'm a bigger fan than you.)

"I Can't Help It"

"Baby Be Mine" -- My favorite song by him ever!


"Man in the Mirror" Monica and I wrote a parody of this in 5th grade.

"Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" The fam and I used to dance like hell to this 12" in the crib.

"Big Boy" The beginning.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

A quick update on my summer movie viewing and return to sewing

See It
Drag Me to Hell
Star Trek

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Terminator Salvation

Don't Bother
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Next Up
The Limits of Control (Isaach De Bankole is back!)
The Hangover
Public Enemies
Land of the Lost
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Also, The Deadliest Warrior provides some serious entertainment. This show pits historical bad-assess against each other and simulates battles in order to determine who'd be victorious. The season's over, but that means you have plenty of time to catch up. Sure, the simulations will probably upset you at times (I'm still mad that the ninja fell to the Spartan and the Yakuza to the Mafia), but the concept alone is worthy of a few viewings.

Finally, I've been sewing again. Check out Knit Deez for updates.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Spring's a-comin' ... in two more months or so. Here in Chicago, we're on that short yellow bus schedule.

Anyway, I'm all about a new opportunity to buy shoes that may or may not be worn. Thankfully, some of my guilt will this time be assuaged by my affinity for an earth-conscious collection. Terra Plana, with an eco-sustainable approach, allows me to feel that I'm actually helping the earth by buying shoes.

Note: I own a pair of Terra Planas, and they are ridiculously comfortable. The rubber soles are great too.







Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Not Biting, But They're Chewing On Something

Remember when Chico (DeBarge) got out of jail back in '96, '97 and dropped Long Time, No See? Yeah, I was geeked, for all of the usual chick reasons. After cutting that Flock of Seagulls bouffant and gaining that young jail body, he was foine, so I bought the album. (I did things like that. How do you think I became an Eric Benet fan?)

Anyway, revisiting that album today got me thinking again about musical influences. Ain't nothing wrong with 'em. We all absorb influences, ideas, thoughts from somewhere. Sometimes, though, the influence is so strong you can't help but hear a legend being regurgitated by a newbie. Por ejemplo,

That entire Long Time, No See album should be entitled I Love You Marvin Gaye: Troubleman/Let's Get It On Part Deux. Tell me I'm wrong.

"Trouble Man" - Marvin Gaye

"Love Still Good" - Chico DeBarge

And Rahsaan Patterson? Clearly a huuuuuuuuge Chaka Khan fan.

"We Got Each Other" - Chaka Khan

"Get Here" - Rahsaan Patterson

I love Raheem DeVaughn to pieces (pieces!!!), but that latter half of Love Behind The Melody was straight Marvin too.

"Distant Lover" - Marvin Gaye

"Desire" - Raheem DeVaughn

That's it.

Oh, I saw Coraline in 3D today. Really good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bebe Zahara Benet

Just in case you didn't know, Bebe Zahara Benet is more fierce than you.

Do yourself a favor. If you're not watching RuPaul's Drag Race, go on over to LOGO and rectify that situation. Okay?

Dial M For Murder was pretty good. I guess that weak-assed Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle The Perfect Murder was supposed to pay homage, huh? For shame. At least it had Viggo Mortensen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


You know, I'm surprised there hasn't been any serious porn exploiting this guy's name. I mean ... Hitchcock. Yeah.

Anyway, one of my favorite directors, blah, blah, blah. Love his movies, doody doo. Since I'm on this hiatus from life, I figured I'd watch all the Hitchcock I haven't seen. (See? That sentence makes me feel dirty. *shudder*)

Spellbound - Many a day in undergrad spent watching this one. Gregory Peck was a looker. Good movie, but the inferior version of Marnie in my opinion.
Marnie - Severely underrated. Perhaps my favorite. No one plays beautiful and dangerous ice queen like Tippi Hedren. Sean Connery did some horrid, horrid things in this, but my was he smmoth with it.
The Birds - Creepy and fantastic. In the top five.
Vertigo - Jimmy Stewart's my favorite Hitchcock leading man.
Psycho - Honestly, who hasn't seen this? Way to milk the franchise, greedy hollywood.
Frenzy - Surprisingly violent and disturbing, which means I loved it.
Rope - Another underrated piece featuring the man, Jimmy Stewart.
Shadow of a Doubt - Good stuff, man. Uncle Charlie was just plain bogus.
The Trouble with Harry - Hilarious. Who knew a corpse (that's not reanimated) could be so much fun?
Rear Window - Part of the cultural fabric. How many parodies of this one have you seen?

Kinda Seen, meaning was on TV as I did other stuff and intermittently paid attention.
North by Northwest - I do like Cary Grant. So smooth, that one.
Torn Curtain - Starring the most attractive white man the white world has ever offered, Paul Newman.

Seeing Soon - I came up at the Walmart a few months back. Twenty Hitchcock movies--mostly the older ones, including the first version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much," four discs in total--for only five bucks. This is what I got, a frickin' steal.
Dial M For Murder - Watching it tonight.
The Lady Vanishes
The 39 Steps
Strangers on a Train

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Watching The Watchmen

first off, the book and the movie are two different vehicles. read it. say it aloud. accept it as truth. also, this is not a proper review, more so me trying to work out my feelings about the movie. no spoilers, so feel free to read it.

my feelings about this movie are complicated because i can't be sure if i liked it or not. the director, zack snyder, was obviously intent on remaining true to the source material, and it shows. most of the visuals and dialogue were snatched directly from the pages of the novel, with few, very few, exceptions. as i watched, i knew what each scene would look like, sound like, as panels from the novel appeared in exact succession with characters saying nearly exactly what they say on page. after a while, i was left feeling no anticipation, just expectation. i can't say that this is the director's fault. i was the one, after all, who decided to read the darned thing, but i think there's a useful discussion in here somewhere about the merits of risk taking in film adaptation. despite snyder's near perfect reverence for the text, i almost found his need to simply provide a slide show of the text somewhat dull, without risk and boring.

it wasn't all bad, though. often i found myself remarking aloud about the beauty of the film. it was gorgeous in many places, and sometimes, the faithfulness of the adaptation was exactly what was called for. mr. manhattan's famous exile, for example, was beautiful. i found myself nearly as arrested by the film's rendering of it as i was by its textual counterpart. entertaining, too, were the fights. the violence was particularly graphic, so much so that my mom, brother, and i often found ourselves gritting our teeth. it was strange in a way, the stillness of the film juxtaposed with the brutality of its fight scenes. i figured snyder was attempting to satiate watchers who would be bothered by the lethargic pace of the film.

another problem was a few of the casting choices. i flat out disliked the actress playing laurie/silk spectre II; she was annoying and wasn't talented enough to give the character any depth. laurie was my least favorite in the novel, too, but a good actress should bring something to the table. what REALLY annoyed me was the choice for ozymandias. this guy and his character are so integral to the plot that his less-than-stellar acting was seriously lowered the quality of the film. though he is regarded from a distance as golden, in addition to his intellect and physical prowess, adrian veldt is likeable and radiates a personality that draws people in. i did not get this from matthew goode at all. in fact, i found him pompous, stiff, and unsympathetic. jude law probably would've been the better choice.

jackie earle haley as rorschach was perfect. seriously, every time he appeared on screen, things picked up again and you finally found yourself feeling any sort of kinship or sympathy for a character. jeffrey dean morgan (bizarro robert downey jr.) was also good as the comedian.

fans won't be satisfied if they're looking for the same amount of depth in character development, allegory, and themes. there just isn't enough time, but i do think that the idea of self-chosen superheroes, regular people who have chosen this burden for one reason or another, is interestingly handled and results in a movie that is beautiful and provocative. a better movie, one that is all those things AND entertaining would've needed more editing, a better pace, and a much better cast; however, i'm glad i saw it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Getting My La Pasadita On

I used to have a tradition called Hot Dog Fridays that featured Hot Doug's. That eventually evolved into Taco Fridays featuring La Pasadita.

Tonight, I wanted to revisit those times and attempted to emulate La Pasadita's taco. It definitely wasn't the same, but it was damn tasty.

Word to the wise, do not attempt to drink eisbocks and be functional. Those joints are mad strong (and delicious).

Also, tomorrow I'm getting my left arm all kinds of illustrated, and I'm having doubts. Unfortunately, the sugar cube was dropped, leaving room for the robot parts, cheeseburger, and stick of butter only. Apparently, this whole exercise will take about 20 hours. Yay?

Watchmen tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

WOOOOOooooOOOOO/Sci Fi Reading

Remember this post about my tour through sci fi classics? I haven't forgot. I'm just lazy. So far, I've waded through three and a half short stories, two of which I'd already read, and one-half a graphic novel.

"The Veldt" & "Zero Hour"/Ray Bradbury - I'd read both of these before, more than once as a matter of fact. Luckily, I'm on borderline Alzheimer's status, so I enjoyed them as if they were new. Also, I had luckily kept The Illustrated Man, the book in which they appeared, checked out on October 16, 1989 from The Ray School library. That's right, while you were playing and having fun, I was stealing books from school libraries. I'm BAD!

Both stories deal with the private worlds of children and their potential dangerousness when left unattended or ignored. Bradbury's writing has always struck me as very sensitive and lyrical. His description of scenery is so vibrant, characters so seemingly realsitic (even his Martians in The Martian Chronicles are "normal") that you often forget that you're reading fantastical tales. Both are recommended, fun tales that aren't mindblowing but are entertaining.

"Nightfall"/Isaac Asimov - I don't know how I've never read this one. Pure Asimov, an interesting concept brought to life through well-written dialogue and an incredible use of tension/suspense. No spoilers: The story centers on the concept of a planet bathed in sunlight as the result of having multiple suns, a once millennial eclipse, and the effects of darkness on a people who have never experienced it. Incredible story. Read it!

In the middle of Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll."

Started The Watchmen last night in anticipation of Friday's movie debut. Got half way through. So far, it's busy but compelling, if only because I want to see how the characters' threads and the many asides come together.

Monday, March 02, 2009

In Fatter News ...

I'm slowly reverting back to my former habits. This morning I made waffles (approximately seven of them), and this evening I made chocolate chip cookies. I'm gonna stop fighting it; I was meant to have high LDL levels and intermittent chest pains from all the fat I consume.

For Schmoe Diggla's Mama's birthday, we hit Chi-Tung. People were dangerously close to food coma.

See? Jimmy has collapsed over his cookie.

My delicious fruit punch backwash remains untouched cuz I have
approximately 14 pounds of food in my stomach.

However, the random Asian food gods have some good news for me.
Perhaps they refer to a cholesterol test.

To keep the fat fattening, I plan on having a pepper crusted steak and a potato gratin tomorrow. That means I'll have meat, potatoes, and cream for dinner. Mmm ... food.

I guess this is a good enough space to make a random Alton Brown allusion. "Oh, bother."

Also, there are some bloggers out there doing wonderful things for food. Thank you.
Coconut & Lime
Closet Cooking - singlehandedly responsible for my love of orange root vegetables with blue cheese.
101 Cookbooks
Orthogonal Thought

Finally, the Fat Boys had it all figured out:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's Been Over, But ...

I formally ended my flirtation with vegetarianism last Wednesday, but I failed to post my last meal, a spinach pie with pearled barley pilaf. Both were delicious and pretty adorable. Take a gander:

Catch me in about a week when I retool my diet to include a lot less butter and cream. Until then, strictly fashion, sci fi, and music.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sci Fi Wednesday - (Veggie DAY NINE)

Nothing to report on the food front today; I'm eating leftovers for lunch and egg salad for dinner.

I'm more so in the mood for science fiction. Yesterday, while out enjoying the 60 degree weather, I finally read "All You Zombies" by Robert Heinlein. Tomorrow, I'm attending my first Think Galactic book club meeting. I hope it goes well. This morning, there was a Friday the 13th - The Series marathon on. Despite my penury, I'm feeling pretty great. The universe is randomly making my life a bed of fluffy, buttered rolls right now.

Now despite my love for the sci fi genre, I'm not exactly well read. (I've never finished Dune!!!) I have favorite authors, books, stories, and I reread them, over and over. It's really hard for me to step outside of my preferences and give new people/stories a chance, so I've decide to embark on a reading tour of the genre, entitled "WOOOOOooooOOOOO..." (Imagine my hands waving in front of your eyes in a menacing manner.)

This is the most accessible list of sci fi short stories on the web, so I shall go by this. Of the 100, I've only read 14, which leaves me 86 (Square one!!!!!). I can do this y'all. Since I still have to finish the book for tomorrow's meeting and read The Watchmen before the movie premiere, I'm not starting til Friday. Update then.

(Anybody wanna do this with me? Just drop a line.)

Let me take the time, though, to extoll the virtues of "Jeffty Is Five." It is an amazing, amazing short story. The kind of thing that forces you to care about the characters, and finds you cursing at the pages. Good stuff.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spaghetti in Mushroom & Spinach Cream Sauce - DAY EIGHT (?)

Let's make this quick. I spent the day out canoodling, so I had very little time or energy to prepare a meal. Pasta is always quick, and with a little care, tasty. So ...

Spaghetti in Mushroom & Spinach Cream Sauce
about 3 oz dry whole wheat spaghetti (1/4 box)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp flour
about 3 cups milk or half & half
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cups spinach, drained
nutmeg, to taste
black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
Parmesan cheese

Boil the spaghetti until al dente. Drain.

Sweat the mushrooms in olive oil and butter until soft. Add garlic and flour. Mix until lumps have disappeared. Slowly add milk and stir over low heat until the butter/flour paste disappears and sauce is smooth. Add spinach and season with nutmeg, pepper, and salt to taste. Mix with spaghetti, garnish with Parmesan, and eat.

I'm telling you. Bechamel is your best friend. With it, you can customize a pasta dish, start a soup, or create a casserole. There is no reason to ever buy a premade sauce when you can make your own in under ten minutes. It may seem fattening, but consider the awful crap you consume outside the house on a normal day. Horrible, right? Plus, it's only one meal.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sweet Dumpling Squash w/ Gorgonzola & Creamed Spinach - DAY SEVEN

I was good over the weekend, rest assured. Even though I kicked it with the fam, I avoided meat, even when my order was messed up, and I was brought a big plate of beefy goodness. Anyway, on to the matter at hand.

I got the idea for the squash recipe from Kevin over at Closet Cooking. I'm a lot lazier than he is, so there was no way I was peeling and cubing anything. Instead I just baked it and covered it in cheese.

Sweet Dumpling Squash w/ Gorgonzola Cheese

1 Sweet Dumpling Squash
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350. Wash squash, cut in half, and scoop out seeds. (Be careful; these things are tough and you can lose fingers.) Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake in 350 degree oven until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese and return to heat until cheese is melted. That's it.

Very tasty, this squash may take the place of my favorite orange food, sweet potato. Loving the sweetness of the squash with the sourness/saltiness of the cheese.

Creamed Spinach

Spinach ( I have no idea of how to express this in a measurement, enough for two people)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 clove garlic, diced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp sour cream
Adobo, salt, or other such seasoning

Unfortunately, I started with fresh spinach, so I had to wash and wash until it was clean. Fresh, frozen or otherwise, make sure your spinach is drained; however a bit of water is fine as it helps create the sauce.

Sweat onion in olive oil. Once it's become transparent, add garlic and spinach. After spinach wilts (fresh) or warms (frozen), add cream cheese and sour cream. Stir until cream cheese melts and is combined with sour cream. Season to taste and remove from heat. You're done.

Love this meal. Obviously, I'm unable to eat without cream being involved. So what? There are vegetables here, and, for the first time, some real color. Commend me, dammit! That other side dish you see is my spicy brown rice from last week. Still going strong, still tasty.

I also made some banana bread. One loaf for me (with chocolate chips and walnuts), and one for Schmoe Diggla (with chocolate chips only). If you're interested in the recipe I used, go here. I follow the recipe pretty closely with a few exceptions: I use half whole wheat pastry flour, half unbleached AP flour; I use butter-flavored shortening; I cut the sugar down by 75 percent; and I cut the recipe in half for two small loaves.

Audi/Outtie 5000

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Broccoli Mushroom Pie and Spicy Brown Rice - DAY THREE

So I failed yesterday. Messing with my mother will have you full of beefy pork juice. However, I managed to get away with fishy poultry. (Not together, but I'm sayin'.) So today, I was back on track. I'm noticing a theme, though. My food tends to be beige as hell, which means I'm still working on getting color (read: vegetables) into my diet. Anyway ...

mushroom and broccoli pie
("we're chopping bra-co-lieeee!!!")

1 bag frozen broccoli (thawed or use fresh) 1 scallion, chopped about 10 medium mushroom, sliced about 1 cup cheeses (i used trader joe's quattro formaggio, white cheddar, and sharp yellow cheddar) 4 tbsp olive oil 4 tbsp whole wheat flour (i use pastry, white is fine too) garlic some milk (about 1 1/2-2 cups) fresh ground pepper garlic salt

crust--if you have them, you can use canned biscuits instead
1 cup flour (i use half wheat, half white)
5 tbsp butter (chilled and cubed)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c boiling water

preheat oven to 425 degrees.

place thawed broccoli in 8x8 baking dish. saute mushrooms and scallions in olive oil. once they've softened, add garlic. add flour and stir until lumps disappear. add milk slowly, stopping when the sauce has thickened to your taste. (it'll take a minute for the sauce to thicken; take it slowly.) add cheeses and stir until melted. season to taste, and pour over broccoli.

meanwhile, mix flour, salt, garlic powder, and baking powder. cut chilled butter into flour mixture until mixture develops pretty uniform crumbs. pour in boiling water and stir just until everything in moist. scoop dough over broccoli slop.

bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until dough browns. (i find that i have to cover until the last ten minutes of cooking so that it doesn't get too brown. it's up to you.)

absolutely delicious. one of my favorites so far.

slightly caribbean rice (aka alton brown's recipe with some stuff added)

1 1/2 c short grain brown rice
1 14 oz can coconut milk ( i used light)
3/4 c broth
1 bay leaf red pepper flakes to taste
curry powder (i didn't measure, use your discretion)
you can use salt but, i'm trying this bragg stuff out (liquid amino acids)

preheat oven to 350 degrees. pour rice into baking dish. bring broth and coconut milk to simmer. add bay leaf, red pepper, and curry powder. pour milk mixture over rice, stir, cover with foil, and bake in oven until all liquid is absorbed (about 40 minutes).

a few notes:
aldi's steamed veggies in a tray are phenomenal. low in sodium, easy to prepare, cheap, and tasty as sin. go thee to the nearest aldi and stock up. (get the spring blend.)

my old people's cake from yesterday was a big hit. i'll be making it again, as i really enjoyed it myself.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


This isn't so hard. Meat can be easily avoided. I've had an epiphany, though. So far, I'm more of a starchatarian than a vegetarian. Most of my meals are rice- or pasta-based. Working veggies in is really gonna be a problem.

Anyway, tonight I made my first risotto. I used a super short grain Spanish rice, and what a mistake. If you ever make a risotto, please use arborio or carnaroli. Your palette will thank you. It still turned out tasty; it just didn't have that signature creaminess.

Recipe (For one large portion or two small ones)
about 2 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c risotto rice
1 scallion, diced
1/2 clove garlic, diced
3 tbsp white wine
2-3 c stock (i used chicken. it was homemade. i rule.)
butter, unsalted
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan, fresh

bring stock up to simmer and keep it there. cook mushrooms in one tbsp olive oil until soft and remove from heat. sweat scallion in remaining olive oil until transparent and add garlic and rice. when rice is thoroughly coated in oil and slightly transparent (about two minutes), add wine and stir until absorbed. now, add chicken stock in small portions (about 1/4 cup), only adding more after previous portion is absorbed. keep stirring. in about 20 minutes or so, you should have a creamy, al dente rice dish. stir in mushrooms, remove from heat, stir in a bit of butter, and season with salt and pepper. garnish with freshly grated parmesan and voilà.

as i said, it was tasty, but next time i'll use Italian short grain. oh, and i must also commend myself on making my own chicken stock. it was mad easy and kills any other stock i've ever had. i just threw a whole chicken in a pot with a halved onion, celery stalks, fresh rosemay, bay leaf, tyme, and sage, covered them in cold water, and boiled for about three hours. after being strained, it was ready to go. people may tell you to get rid of the fat, but i have some very lofty plans for it once this vegetarianism is over.

in other news, tomorrow's my daddy's birthday. i'll be kicking it with the fam tomorrow, and was given the task of making the birthday cake. since my dad is kinda weird in his tastes and probably wouldn't have liked my signature chocolate fudge cake, i made him an applesauce spice cake with cream cheese frosting and walnuts. hopefully, it will get eaten. after all, this is totally an old people's cake.

until tomorrow

Monday, February 02, 2009

Vegetarianism - Day One (Kinda)

Quick explanation -- I eat way too much red meat and pork. Once upon a time, I had stopped, but when I moved back in with my mommy after college, she refused to remember my no red meat/pork rules; plus her boyfriend made THE most delicious rib tips ever, so I failed. Well here it is, years later, and I pop bacon cheeseburgers like tic tacs. The other day, I stepped on the scale and realized that I weigh more than I ever have in my life; additionally, I can comfortably fit into less than 20% of my clothes, so I figured a quick detour into vegetarianism would help. Two weeks of tasty (?) recipes, plenty of water, and back breaking Pilates, join me on my quest to ... FIT BACK INTO MY GEAR!!!!! What's in it for you? Well, recipes, of course, and the potential to share in my triumph or watch me fail miserably.

Okay, so I had tuna for lunch, but I made it on Sunday as a farewell-to-flesh meal and was too full to eat it, so I polished it off today. However, breakfast and dinner were both vegetarian as hell.

I had the most fabulous pasta at Enoteca Roma once, pear ravioli with walnut cream sauce and Gorgonzola cheese. Since then, I've been trying to replicate that taste at home. Tonight, I tried whole wheat spaghetti with walnut cream sauce and pears. (I find spaghetti and like pastas are pretty much the only palatable whole wheat varieties; the other ones are too big and interfere with the sauces.) Anyway, my experiment paid off. It was definitely good, but certainly not low-fat, just low-meat.

cooked whole wheat spaghetti (enough for two portions)
handful of walnuts (toasted and chopped)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1-2 cups milk or half and half ( I used both and didn't measure, just add until the consistency of the sauce suits your taste)
white wine
1 bosc pear (cored and cubed, you can use any sweet variety)
Nutmeg (again, I didn't measure, maybe 1/2 tsp)
garlic salt
This is pretty easy. Toast the walnuts either in a pan or in the oven and chop. I use a mini food chopper. Set aside.

Saute the pears over medium heat in one tablespoon of butter until they're slightly brown and add as much white wine as you like to taste. Let the alcohol cook off some and set the pears aside.

Make a Béchamel sauce by slowly melting the remaining butter and adding the flour to form a smooth paste. Make sure the lumps are gone. Add milk and stir until you reach your desired consistency and add your seasonings. Once the sauce is seasoned well, stir in the walnuts, pears and spaghetti.

Bon Appétit

(From now on, I'll try to take pictures of my meals before I gobble them down.)